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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

the rtiore so since Poland did not út that moment, present any material
force to be reckoned with. But the Red Army was then in retreat and the
Kremlin decided it was necessary to reliaquish the hostile attitude towards
Poland, a Poland which might now in some way be exploited in this
war.
From that moment the Soviet policy towards Poland was to correspond
proportionately henceforth with the outcome of events on the Russian-
German front and to the varying importance which Moscow attached to its
relations with Britain and the U.S.A. The Kremlin had to reckon that the
crisis on the Russian front would now last until the winter. The weather,
the ruthless measures adopted by the Russian High Command after the
Red Army had lost one thousand miles in depth, combined with the
lengthening of German lines of communications, at last arrested
the advance of the enemy. When this crisis had passed the Soviet Govern-
ment rapidly altered its decisions and behaviour with regard to the Polish
Government in London and towards the Poles in Russia.
On July 5th, the first meeting took place at the British Foreign Oflke
between the Polish Premier, General Sikorski, the Polish Minister of
Foreign Affairs, Zaleski, the Soviet Ambassador, Maisky, and Cadogan,
British Under-Secretary of State. All parties were anxious, though not
in the same degree, to conclude an agreement. The Kremlin was the
most concerned : it was receiving desperate communiques from the frojat
and, waiting for the position to improve, was in the meantime endeavouring
to find a way to retain * de jure,* the booty taken in 1939 from Poland by
* droit de conquerant,' while simultaneously giving every evidence of
general goodwill.
Britain, the second party, was also most anxious in her turn, to see this
agreement completed. She wanted the coalition to reach a real under-
standing and at the same time to fulfil the obligations resulting from her
Treaty of Mutual Assistance with Poland. The decision of the Polish
Government was hastened for the reason that as they had no access to the
man-power available in Poland (the Army created in France had suffered
severe losses while in that country), the sole chance of re-building the
depleted forces was from that stock of Polish man-power locked in Russia,
those unfortunate Polish citizens and prisoners-of-war who had been
deported into the depths of Siberia. Each additional hour's delay meant
death to some of the men, women and children. These people were
pawns in the Soviet's game, and the Russians used them in a manner
calculated to influence the outcome of that meeting.
The negotiations in London did not attain any success. The Polish
Government demanded as an essential condition that " the relations
between Poland and the U.S.S.R. should return to the same basis as those
of pre-war times " (before August, 1939), and asked for indemnities
for the people who had suffered so much through the Soviet's action.